Running with M.E.

I am 49 and have M.E. but know how to 'manage ' living with it. The last few months I've started a run/walk routine and have managed to build up to 35 mins non stop and even managed a 20 min run / 1 min rest x 3. My pace is very slow but that's not a problem. I would love to run a 5k for charity next year ... so I need to up my pace. AND I want to run further. I can only train once every 5 or 7 days as I need time to recover so progress is slow but it is definately working. Can any one suggest a sensible routine for me so I don't just get stuck in a rut. Any help appreciated.


  • Hi Jean - I'd have thought that some very slow progression over a long period would be best and to keep your heart rate low to not stress yourself too much - an HRM will let you monitor your progress and prevent over exertion. Or how about slowing down what you currently do to see if you can reduce the number of days needed to recover and build up from there? I wish you all the best. Hopefully someone will come along soon with some proper advice!

    Best wishes, Peter.

  • Hi Jean and WELL DONE YOU for taking up running! Am a newbie myself but 2 things come to mind, firstly a Charity run is not a race for most/many people so times do not matter so much, it's the taking part that counts and secondly, when I started almost 2 months ago I'd need 2 days off to recover until I started using my HRM and staying in the Aerobic zone most of the time.  I'm slow but could probably go out every day as my legs no longer ache the day after.

  • Thanks Peter and Andi,

    What I'm really after is a realistic routine (for me) unlike those offered to people without a recovery time of a whole week!! I am making great progress and want to continue but in a structered way. Unfortunately a heart rate monitor doesn't seem to have a bearing on recovery in my case though I have tried them in the past.

    Had to smile when I read Peter, that you said to slow down.... I am being overtaken by snails now! I only seem to have one pace. Perhaps it's my age!!

    Thanks again guys


  • Well done Jean on making a comeback image  Of course I don't how bad your ME but would it be worth trying to build up more slowly ie a couple of small runs a week instead of one big one.  This GET guide I think is a great example of how to create a plan   Linky thing


  • Thanks Little Ninja that was interesting in the fact it recommends to keep exercising even with set back. I guess I'll carry on doing what works - listening to my body and  be patient (not me at all) . image

  • No problem Jean - maybe what I should have said was reduce what you do. As LN says, I think you need to cut back a bit so that you can go out more regularly which will improve your fitness and stamina. The long breaks are probably holding you back and being able to exercise more regularly will help in the long run. And don't worry about the snails, you'll soon be overtaking them!

    Would you like to share a bit about your background with your illness and any running/exercise regime you have had?

  • Jean Silcock wrote (see)

    Thanks Little Ninja that was interesting in the fact it recommends to keep exercising even with set back. I guess I'll carry on doing what works - listening to my body and  be patient (not me at all) . image

    Read it properlyimage It's actually talking about people who are only at the stretching level. Slowly slowly and all that.

    Oh I should say I don't have CFS but I've had a diabolical year healthwise that is still ongoing but after reading about deconditioning, I'm trying to start making a comeback.

    What I really liked is that it says you first need to set a base line. Is  just running once and needing five days to cover is the best baseline for you?

  • had a horrible 2 or 3 years with what was diagnosed as M.E. about 15 years ago - i have now completed quarter and half marathons and played a lot of good level sport since. A positive mindset is the key and patience that you will get better!

  • Thank Rowan, I am an Aries....need I say more!!! I used to tend to over push myself but I've grown wiser. Did a 40 min run/jog the other day. Now planning on trying a few 20 minute ones but every 3rd day just to see how I cope. Pleased to hear your health is good.

  • thanks Jean! it does feel like a very dark tunnel when you can not even walk to the postbox but sure you will get there. Targets help - come and run the Apperley Quarter Marathon next September!

  • Mmmm. One step at a time but thanks for offer Rowan. Peter, you were asking about background. I've always been sporty. Got into weight training in early 20's but became ill at 27. Of course I carried on as long as I could. Went though a few years of frustration with little help from medical establishment. Learnt about nutrition, alternative therapies and got involved in massage.... all to learn how to help myself which I think is the answer. I am lucky to be with a fantastic employer who realised I was not coping with a physical job and now work in the office which has allowed me to turn my life around again. Dizziness is one of main signs ( as well as tiredness etc) of over pushing it, and is debilatating. So far I've not suffered too much so I am determined to keep running.

  • So you've had this for 22 years?? You certainly do have a good employer and I think it definitely helps if you are able to keep working. I think that it's really important to maintain as much of your life as possible even if it is just to keep sane! I've been suffering with an undiagnosed fatigue since June 2010 - that is why I was interested in your background and what you were doing. I think I may be getting to grips with it now having seen a nutritionist. My problem seems to stem from poor gut bacteria brought on by a bad bout of Noro Virus 6 or so years ago. So I'm treating that by killing off the unwelcome bacteria and repopulating with the good stuff.

    Your plan to cut back on the runs but more often sounds a good one. Hope it goes well and keep us updated.


  • Sorry to hear you've had problems Peter. What really did help me was to cut out wheat. I now have wheat but try to avoid it if possible but without being obsessed with it. Try it for a week and see how you feel. I also take magnesium, B-vits inc B12, all the omegas and try to have some protein with each meal. Basically i rattle if I jump up and down. Something is working, Whether it is a overall thing I don't know. Definateley look at your choice of diet. Let me know if you decide to try the wheat free week.

  • Thanks Jean. There may be a few parallels here! Wheat has particularly hard to digest gluten but may suggest you have stomach issues too. I'm on a very strict diet already - no sugar, low carbs and high in protein. I take various things to help kill off the gut bacteria and acid tablets to boost my stomach acid. This might be worth checking yourself - look for HCI Betain with Pepsin. If your stomach acid is weak it could mean you are not absorbing all the benefits from your food, allows bad bacteria to thrive and illness to take hold. High levels of bad bacteria in the gut can cause all sorts of bother including poor absorbtion of magnesium and vit B12! Might be worth researching and getting some professional advice (don't take my word for it!).

    I'm going to follow my current plan and see where it goes but it's looking good! Google the candida diet as well - that is interesting and has some good advice. I have been feeling a lot better since a recent course of antibiotics which I'm told probably killed off a lot of my bad bacteria (and the good) so may have given me a head start. I'm happy to discuss further if you think any of this might be of interest.


  • Well, 'Ive managed 2 x 20 min runs this week.... the first went well and I actually picked up a little bit of speed managing around 8.30 min/mile. The 2nd was s l o w. Plan to try a longish run of an hour on Tuesday. That means I've coped with 3 training sessions though must admit did feel fatigue after 1st 20 min session. AND I've treated myself to some new trainers that are not falling apart. Went to a local speciallist called Derby Runner and parted with some hard earned cash! What I want to know is... when will I stop sounding like a steam train on my runs? People know when to move out of the way because they can hear me from half a mile away. Will this eventually settle down? Should I be bothered about it?

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